NAACP issues warning against visiting Florida over ‘hostile’ DeSantis-led policies

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
2:14 PM – Sunday, May 21, 2023

Just days before Governor Ron DeSantis is anticipated to declare his candidacy for president, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) released a travel advisory warning vacation-goers against visiting Florida to protest the governor’s policies, which the civil rights group claims are “hostile to Black Americans.”


“On a seeming quest to silence African-American voices, the Governor and the State of Florida have shown that African Americans are not welcome in the State of Florida,” the travel advisory said, which was released on Saturday.

“Due to this sustained, blatant, relentless and systemic attack on democracy and civil rights, the NAACP hereby issues a travel advisory to African Americans, and other people of color regarding the hostility towards African Americans in Florida,” the group continued.

The declaration referred to a number of DeSantis’ initiatives, including a measure he signed on Monday prohibiting colleges from using public funds and tax-payer money for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.

The Stop WOKE Act, which limits how schools can discuss race during mandated training or instruction, was also approved by the Florida governor. DeSantis prohibited the state’s public schools from offering an Advanced Placement African American Studies course because he claimed it was greatly lacking “educational value.”

“Let me be clear, failing to teach an accurate representation of the horrors and inequalities that Black Americans have faced and continue to face is a disservice to students and a dereliction of duty to all,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson in a statement.

Johnson urged individuals to take part in the NAACP’s “battle for the soul of our nation.” The group then stated that 23% of Florida’s public-school students are Black.

“Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color,” the advisory continued.

DeSantis signed the controversial “Parental Rights in Education” legislation, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by its critics, despite the fact that it has nothing to do with homophobia and rather prohibits teachers or administrators from educating kindergarten through third grade students about sexual orientations or gender identities in the classroom. According to the Republican governor, it is inappropriate for such young pupils to discuss those personal matters with their educators.

In opposition to explicit or distinct diversity instruction, the governor has upheld the statute.

“DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination,” DeSantis said while the bill was being signed.

When the Florida NAACP chapter asked that national authorities discuss the proposed travel alert in March, DeSantis slammed it.

“What a joke,” he said. “Yeah, we’ll see, we’ll see how effective that is… This is a stunt to try to do that. It’s a pure stunt and fine, if you want to waste your time on a stunt, that’s fine. But I’m not wasting my time on your stunts,” the governor maintained.

According to Florida’s tourism department, the Sunshine State attracts around 137.6 million tourists annually, making it one of the state’s most significant sectors. In 2021, visitors supported approximately 1.7 million jobs in Florida and contributed $101.9 billion to the state’s economy, according to the agency.

The anti-Florida travel recommendation may prompt Republicans to support DeSantis as he competes against former President Donald Trump in the GOP primary, despite the NAACP’s attempt to portray him as racially prejudiced. However, the 2024 presidential polls still show that Trump is leading the way.

“This is a stunt,” wrote DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern in an email to journalists. He then forwarded a GIF of DeSantis previously labeling it a stunt.

Christina Pushaw, a political staffer to DeSantis, also mocked the NAACP’s warning on Twitter.

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